Egypt squash stars proud to contest final of historic event in Saudi Arabia

Updated 14 January 2018
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Egypt squash stars proud to contest final of historic event in Saudi Arabia

LONDON: Egypt star and world No. 1 Nour El-Sherbini said she was “extremely proud” to be crowned the first Professional Squash Association Saudi Women’s Masters champion after beating compatriot Raneem El-Welily in the final in Riyadh.
In what was the first professional women’s squash tournament ever to take place in Saudi Arabia, El-Sherbini, 22, controlled proceedings to prevail a comfortable 3-0 winner and become the first female athlete in any sport to win a professional tournament staged in the Kingdom.
“I am extremely proud to have been part of this historical tournament,” El-Sherbini told SquashSite. “I want to thank everybody that made this event possible for us, we are blessed to have been part of it.
“I am proud to be the first PSA Saudi Women’s Masters champion — I hope to come back next year to defend my title — and from the bottom of my heart, I want to thank HRH Princess Reema and (PSA Chairman) Ziad Al-Turki and the crowd that came and supported us all week. We are all very grateful.”
The victory in the PSA World Series event was sweet for El-Sherbini as she lost to El-Welily in the final of last month’s Women’s AJ Bell PSA World Championship final. It moves her above El-Welily in the PSA World Series Standings and all but guarantees her place at the PSA World Series Finals in June.
“I felt that I was in control but at no time it was easy, even though I was ahead in the score, she was always coming back,” El Sherbini said. “After losing in the World Championship final, this match and this victory means a lot to me. But I know we will have many many more battles.”
El-Welily was disappointed to lose 11-7, 11-8, 13-11 but was just proud to be mark of a landmark event.
“This was an incredibly important tournament,” El-Welily said. “We all want to thank those who have achieved great things by putting on this event. We are grateful to Saudi Arabia for the opportunity to play here and to HRH Princess Reema and Ziad Al-Turki for their efforts in making the event happen and the opportunity to play in such an incredible tournament.”


Danny Willett wins in Dubai, Francesco Molinari crowned king of European Tour

Updated 51 sec ago
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Danny Willett wins in Dubai, Francesco Molinari crowned king of European Tour

DUBAI: Danny Willett ended his title drought in thrilling fashion, winning the DP World Tour Championship by two shots despite a last-hole blunder on Sunday.
It was the 31-year-old Englishman’s first victory since the 2016 Masters, secured with a final-round 4-under-par 68 for an 18-under total of 270.
Francesco Molinari finished in joint 26th place to win the European Tour’s Race to Dubai.
Willett held a two-shot lead on the 18th tee after making a birdie on the 17th, but pushed his tee shot slightly into the bank of a creek that divides the 18th fairway, and then hit a brave second shot from the rocks before making par.
England’s Matt Wallace (68) and American Patrick Reed (70) were joint runners-up at 16-under 272.
A poor second shot from Reed on the first had handed Willett the lead and when the 31-year-old holed a brilliant 45-foot double-breaker for eagle on the par-five second, he was three ahead.
Wallace also birdied the second but gave the shot straight back with a three-putt on the third before making a gain from five feet at the fifth.
Willett then took advantage of the par-five seventh to turn at 17-under, five shots clear of Reed — who had also bogeyed the eighth — and three ahead of Wallace, who made a gain on the ninth after chipping in for par on the eighth.
“It’s been a lot of hard work,” said an emotional Willett. “It’s been tough. I’m just massively proud of myself and everyone that’s been around me.
“You never quite know when a win is around the corner and with all the things that have happened, I was never quite sure if it was going to happen again.
“To happen here at the end of year, we’ve battled long and hard through this season to come out at
the end, regardless of what happened today, a better person and a better athlete. It’s a special place. It’s just nice to be back.
“I’ve started pretty slowly on the first four or five holes all week — but I got off to a quick one today. For that to happen on a Sunday in the position I was in, I knew I was in a good place.”
Molinari, winner of the Open Championship and the BMW PGA Championship this year, secured the season-ending title when his closest rival Tommy Fleetwood failed to win the tournament.
“It’s more than I ever dreamed of achieving,” said 36-year-old Molinari.
“I’m really struggling for words.
“I’ve seen guys that I think are better players than me not winning majors and not winning Order of Merits or Race to Dubai. To achieve those things in one single season is just incredible.”
Meanwhile, Fleetwood was in a philosophical mood.
“It’s just golf, but it does hurt when you have days like that,” he said of his Saturday round.
“I feel the adrenaline might have gone. You kind of know when your time’s up. I lasted within two days of the season and it was always a stretch trying to win it.”